Situated on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, Liverpool historically lay within the ancient hundred of West Derby in the county of Lancashire. It became a borough in 1207, a city in 1880, and a county borough independent of the newly-created Lancashire County Council in 1889. Its growth as a major port was paralleled by the expansion of the city throughout the Industrial Revolution. Along with general cargo, freight, and raw materials such as coal and cotton, merchants were involved in the slave trade. In the 19th century, Liverpool was a major port of departure for English and Irish emigrants to North America. It was also home to both the Cunard and White Star Lines, and was the port of registry of the ocean liners RMS Titanic, RMS Lusitania, RMS Queen Mary, and RMS Olympic.
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